The Lord, the most mighty God, has spoken and called the world from the rising of the sun to its setting. Out of Zion, perfect in beauty, God shines forth; our God comes and will not keep silence. Consuming fire goes out before him and a mighty tempest stirs about him. He calls the heaven above, and the earth, that he may judge his people:
‘Gather to me my faithful, who have sealed my covenant with sacrifice.’
Let the heavens declare his righteousness, for God himself is judge.
Hear, O my people, and I will speak:
‘I will testify against you, O Israel; for I am God, your God.
‘I will not reprove you for your sacrifices, for your burnt offerings are always before me.
‘I will take no bull out of your house, nor he-goat out of your folds,
‘For all the beasts of the forest are mine, the cattle upon a thousand hills.
‘I know every bird of the mountains and the insect of the field is mine.
‘If I were hungry, I would not tell you, for the whole world is mine and all that fills it.
‘Do you think I eat the flesh of bulls, or drink the blood of goats?
‘Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving and fulfil your vows to God Most High.
‘Call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you and you shall honour me.’
But to the wicked, says God:
‘Why do you recite my statutes and take my covenant upon your lips,
‘Since you refuse to be disciplined and have cast my words behind you?
‘When you saw a thief, you made friends with him and you threw in your lot with adulterers.
‘You have loosed your lips for evil and harnessed your tongue to deceit.
‘You sit and speak evil of your brother; you slander your own mother’s son.
‘These things have you done, and should I keep silence?
'Did you think that I am even such a one as yourself?
‘But no, I must reprove you, and set before your eyes the things that you have done.
‘You that forget God, consider this well, lest I tear you apart and there is none to deliver you.
‘Whoever offers me the sacrifice of thanksgiving honours me
'and to those who keep my way will I show the salvation of God.’
Save me, O God, by your name and vindicate me by your power. Hear my prayer, O God; give heed to the words of my mouth. For strangers have risen up against me, and the ruthless seek after my life; they have not set God before them.
Behold, God is my helper; it is the Lord who upholds my life. May evil rebound on those who lie in wait for me; destroy them in your faithfulness. An offering of a free heart will I give you and praise your name, O Lord, for it is gracious. For he has delivered me out of all my trouble, and my eye has seen the downfall of my enemies.
Listen, you that are deaf; and you that are blind, look up and see!
Who is blind but my servant, or deaf like my messenger whom I send?
Who is blind like my dedicated one, or blind like the servant of the Lord?
He sees many things, but does not observe them; his ears are open, but he does not hear.The Lord was pleased, for the sake of his righteousness, to magnify his teaching and make it glorious. But this is a people robbed and plundered, all of them are trapped in holes and hidden in prisons; they have become a prey with no one to rescue, a spoil with no one to say, ‘Restore!’
Who among you will give heed to this, who will attend and listen for the time to come?
Who gave up Jacob to the spoiler, and Israel to the robbers?
Was it not the Lord, against whom we have sinned, in whose ways they would not walk, and whose law they would not obey?
So he poured upon him the heat of his anger and the fury of war; it set him on fire all around, but he did not understand; it burned him, but he did not take it to heart.
After this I heard what seemed to be the loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying,
Salvation and glory and power to our God, for his judgements are true and just;
'he has judged the great whore who corrupted the earth with her fornication,
'and he has avenged on her the blood of his servants.’
Once more they said,
The smoke goes up from her for ever and ever.’
'And the twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshipped God
'who is seated on the throne, saying,
And from the throne came a voice saying,
‘Praise our God, all you his servants, and all who fear him, small and great.’
Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the sound of many waters and like the sound of mighty thunder peals, crying out,
'For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns.
'Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory,
'for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready;
'to her it has been granted to be clothed with fine linen, bright and pure’ —
for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.
And the angel said to me,
‘Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.’
And he said to me,
‘These are true words of God.’
Then I fell down at his feet to worship him, but he said to me,
‘You must not do that!
I am a fellow-servant with you and your comrades who hold the testimony of Jesus.
Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.’
Then I saw heaven opened, and there was a white horse! Its rider is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems; and he has a name inscribed that no one knows but himself. He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is called The Word of God. And the armies of heaven, wearing fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron; he will tread the wine press of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has a name inscribed, ‘King of kings and Lord of lords’.
Then I saw an angel standing in the sun, and with a loud voice he called to all the birds that fly in mid-heaven, ‘Come, gather for the great supper of God, to eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of the mighty, the flesh of horses and their riders—flesh of all, both free and slave, both small and great.’ Then I saw the beast and the kings of the earth with their armies gathered to make war against the rider on the horse and against his army. And the beast was captured, and with it the false prophet who had performed in its presence the signs by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshipped its image. These two were thrown alive into the lake of fire that burns with sulphur. And the rest were killed by the sword of the rider on the horse, the sword that came from his mouth; and all the birds were gorged with their flesh.
Almighty God, as your kingdom dawns, turn us from the darkness of sin to the light of holiness, that we may be ready to meet you in our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen.